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Connect the World

3 Killed in Kyiv after Finding Bomb Shelter Locked; Some Warn Against NATO Rushing to Admit Ukraine; Source: Trump Captured on Tape Talking About Classified Document he kept after Presidency; Attacks Increasing Inside Russia, Occupied Ukraine; Earlier NATO Secretary General said Ukraine is on a path to Membership; Zelenskyy Speaks to European Leaders in Moldova. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired June 01, 2023 - 11:00:00   ET



ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Welcome back to the second hour of "Connect the World" I'm Eleni Giokos. This hour a group of Russian

national say, is fighting inside Russian territory. I'll be speaking to the Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine.

But first NATO Foreign Ministers are meeting in Oslo as the Ukrainian President pushes for membership. The German Foreign Minister says new

members cannot be at war. On the ground in Ukraine three people have been killed in Kyiv from falling missile debris after Russia five more missiles

on the capsule overnight. The victims include a nine year old girl.

In Sudan negotiations between warring factions brokered by the United States and Saudi Arabia has broken down shelling in Khartoum on Wednesday

killed at least 17 people and wounded more than hundred.

Ukraine's President is on the global stage today, stressing that Ukraine's fight against Russia is also a fight for European democracy and for that

Ukraine deserves a clear path to join the EU and NATO.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, making that case at a European Summit in Moldova, meanwhile, in Oslo, when NATO Foreign Ministers gathered today, the

Secretary General gave this assurance that Ukraine will eventually be brought into the fold.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: As late as last year -- has agreed that Ukraine will become a member of this alliance. And we are

making concrete steps because Ukraine is moving towards NATO.

Meaning that they are coming closer and closer, meaning that they are moving from the Soviet standards to NATO standards, equipment doctrines,

and we are have helping them do that as we speak.


GIOKOS: But President Zelenskyy will have to be patient there's no way to bring Ukraine into NATO right now without triggering a wider war as the

German Foreign Minister reminded her counterparts in Oslo.


ANNALENA BAERBOCK, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER: NATO's open door policy remains in place but at the same time, it is clear that we cannot talk about

accepting new members who are in the midst of a war.


GIOKOS: In Kyiv a devastating image has emerged on social media punctuating the brutality and tragedy of Russia's war Grandfather watching over the

body of his nine year old granddaughter who was killed in Russian missile strikes.

Officials are investigating whether her death could have been prevented. She and her mother along with a third person died after trying to get into

a bomb shelter finding it locked. Ukraine's military said it shut down all 10 missiles fired at Kyiv in the latest round of attacks.

The three deaths in Kyiv early Thursday were caused by falling debris. CNN's Sam Kiley joining us now from Kharkiv in Eastern Ukraine! Sam, this

is a tragedy. I mean, three people dying because of debris because they couldn't get into that shelter that was locked. What are Ukrainian

officials saying right now in terms of how and why this could have happened?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they have no idea Eleni. Obviously, it's certainly not a government policy. These are Soviet

era, bomb shelters that have been put into regular use for more than a year.

They're significant in their size, their organization. Everybody knows where they are. One of the problems for the Ukrainian authorities has been

to get people to take cover during air raid sirens because people have got so used to that as a way of life.

But nonetheless, this was a significant group of civilians trying to get into air raid shelters, and were unable to do so as a result of them being

locked now the local authorities launching an investigation into how that came about.

But this is a tragic sideshow, effectively in this ongoing war, because the City of Kyiv has once again being targeted with surface to surface and so

an ad to surface missiles heavy missiles Iskander missiles, cruise missiles.

And of course, the Iranian made drones, primitive drones, all of them intended to overwhelm the defense capabilities of the capital city and soak

up the defense capabilities more widely around the country.

And inevitably, when there are the sorts of engagements overhead sometimes the debris falls, and in an extraordinarily stroke of terrible luck. It

turned out the people tried to take cover just couldn't Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes. Well, let's look at what's happening inside of Russia. We've seen an increase in attacks inside of Russia. Give us some insights about

the group that is taking responsibility for what we've been seeing in and around Belgorod.

KILEY: Well, there are two groups we have Russian citizens who fall under the Defense Intelligence Directorate here in Ukraine.


They're card carrying members of the Ukrainian security forces. And they have been over the last week conducting a raid or raids into Russian

territory. Now, when they crossed the border the Ukrainians claim they are not operating under Ukrainian orders.

But I think the lie has been proven to that when the Defense Intelligence Agency themselves said after their last raid, they were able to gather some

very important intelligence on the behavior a movement of Russian troops now they're claiming two different groups of these Russians working for


That they are now engaged in another raid, South East of the City of Belgorod across the border with Ukraine in the same area where Russian

officials are saying they've had to evacuate eight civilians that the area is coming under heavy bombardment.

Which they blame on the Ukrainians and that they've had to evacuate many hundreds of civilians from a number of villages in that frontline area. And

this has caused consternation right all the way through to the Kremlin on top of those drone operations again by the Russians attributed to Ukraine

that have hit Moscow Crescent -- oil refinery in other locations across the particularly close to but not only close to the border with Ukraine.

As part I think Eleni of Ukraine's new summer offensive this is a new strategy by Ukraine to take the war into Russian territory in an ever more

significant way. And yesterday, the adviser to President Zelenskyy said we could look -- we should anticipate this escalating Eleni.

GIOKOS: Alright, Sam Kiley, thank you so much for breaking that down for us. Well, meanwhile, the British Foreign Secretary says Ukraine is well

within its rights to go beyond fighting Russia only within Ukraine's borders.


JAMES CLEVERLY, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Ukraine does have the legitimate right to defend itself. It has the legitimate right to do so within its own

borders, of course, but it does also have the right to project force beyond its borders to undermine Russia's ability to project force into Ukraine



GIOKOS: All right, I want to bring in Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister now. Andrij Yaroslavovych Melnyk welcome to the program sir great to have

you on. So many questions that have been coming through because we've seen Russian volunteer forces claimed responsibility for attacks inside of

Russia. Are you in touch with them? Do you communicate with them regarding these attacks?

ANDRIJ MELNYK, UKRAINIAN VICE FOREIGN MINISTER: Good evening, Ms. Giokos from Kyiv. Well, I mean, Ukraine does not have any responsibility for those

military groups. So they are acting on their own. And that's why it is difficult to reply upon your question.

What counts for us is that all the occupied territories and there are about 18 percent of the whole country under occupation of Russia since over 15

months that they leave Ukraine that they just pull out?

And that is the only order that is the main, if you wish precondition for starting and any talks with Russia, and that is our demand that Russia has

to withdraw in order to make possible any negotiations whatsoever about a peaceful resolution.

GIOKOS: Minister, you know, just to be clear, you know, our reporter Sam Kiley, was talking about whether this is part of the counter offensive that

attacks not only within Russian occupied territory inside of Ukraine, but also attacks within Russia, a part of the counter offensive?

MELNYK: Well, I mean, Ukraine has a legitimate right to attack goals also in Russia because Russia has invaded our country and that is clear for us

but at the same time, we have to proceed with cautiousness because that is a very sensitive question and we do not want to create any chance for

Russia to accuse us of attacking them.

That's why we have a right but at the same time, it is something that is a very delicate issue. We know that because our partners our key allies have

requested Ukraine not to use some kind of weaponry that we have received on the Russian territory. And that is an arrangement that we really cherish.


GIOKOS: Now for U.S., in the meantime you're saying that they don't support attacks inside of Russia, I want you to take a listen to this.


JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESPERSON: We don't tell them where to strike. We don't tell them. You know, we're not to strike. We

don't tell them how to conduct their operations. All that said we have been very clear. With the Ukrainians privately, we certainly have been clear

publicly, that we do not support attacks inside Russia.


GIOKOS: All right. Well, are you worried sir about any backlash from the U.S. if these attacks continue that it's starting to change the dynamics of

this war?

MELNYK: I mean we do appreciate a very trustful dialogue with our American alliance. And we are thankful for all the help all the military help with

Ukraine has received so far also from other key partners like Germany, the UK and other countries.

And of course, their opinion, their position is of importance to us. But at the same time, Ukraine has a legitimate right according to international

law, to proceed; as we see it fit in order to they occupy all the territories that are under Russian oppression since so many months.

And that is the main goal. The main goal is just to liberate all the territories that Russia has been holding, torturing and killing

deliberately our citizens, millions of Ukrainians have been suffering. And that is not the main goal and how the tactics will look like.

And we have been coordinating many efforts with our allies. They know what we are doing, and what counts is this trust that we retain the trust

between Ukraine and our key allies because that's the key of our victory.

GIOKOS: Yes. I want to move on to NATO, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg saying that Ukraine will eventually join NATO. But we've heard even from

the German Defense Minister, it cannot, because the war is still ongoing.

The reality is that your membership status efforts haven't changed since 2008 since the Bucharest agreement; I just want to play a little bit of

what President Zelenskyy had to say earlier about NATO membership.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRIANIAN PRESIDENT: Ukraine is ready to be NATO. We're waiting when NATO will be ready to host and to see and to have

Ukraine. And I think security guarantees are very important, not only for Ukraine, for our neighbors Moldova because of the Russia and of their

aggression in Ukraine and potential aggression for the part of Europe.


GIOKOS: Yes. All right, well, you're the Former Ambassador to Germany, what do you make of the Foreign Ministers' comments that new members cannot be

at war? Do you think that's a fair statement?

MELNYK: We hope our key allies, including Germany, would change their views because, as you mentioned, the open door policy we have since 2008. And

NATO membership is also part of our constitution joint each government has to pursue this goal.

But now what counts is a strategic vision of our key allies, especially the United States, and Germany, on the issue, of course, mainly believe that on

only when this war is over Ukraine can join, eventually, NATO, but I think we have to be creative, we have to find a path to that membership, even as

this war continues.

And we have many instances, Germany, including -- Germany -- the Federal Republic of Germany, as you know, joined NATO, having no recognition of

borders with the German Democratic Republic being under Russian or under Soviet rule with other neighbors in the East like Poland or Czech Republic.

But still, Germany joined NATO, even though Stalin as you would remember has proposed to agree to reunification of Germany, but only if that Germany

would remain neutral, that doesn't. That didn't happen and that is one of the examples for Cyprus also joined NATO having some territorial disputes

because of the occupation in the North.


We think that we have to, we can find a way that Ukraine might become a NATO member, even, or irrespective of this war, because when Russians would

know that Ukraine can only join NATO, when this war is over, then they will never end this war, they will continue it for years and decades.

And that is something which does not correspond to our interests and also the interests of our allies. That's why we might find a way that Ukraine

can join NATO, but maybe with some limitations when it comes to like having troops of our allies in Ukraine during this war, but that should not

preclude from thinking out of the box.

GIOKOS: Deputy Foreign Minister and I know your efforts in that regard, continue. I thank you very much for your time. We appreciate it. Thank you.

MELNYK: Thank you.

GIOKOS: You're watching "Connect the World". Still to come a recording that could have a major impact on the investigation of Former U.S. President

Donald Trump and his handling of classified documents. And the U.S. Defense Secretary arrives in Singapore for its strategic summit with a serious

warning involving the lack of communication with China. A live report from the Pentagon that is all coming up.


GIOKOS: Now it's up to the Senate as U.S. lawmakers race the clock to raise the debt limit the deal has already passed the House of Representatives.

The measure faced backlash from the far right and the far left. But in the end, the debt limit bill was approved by the House on Wednesday nights with

significant bipartisan support.

However, it's not clear when the Senate will vote and just days remain to avoid potentially catastrophic defaults. Meantime, there is a major

development in the investigation of Donald Trump and his handling of U.S. security secrets.

CNN has learned that there is a recording of the Former President acknowledging that he kept a classified document after him left office.

This revelation could severely undercut Mr. Trump's defense in the case Paula Reid now with CNN's exclusive reporting.


PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Federal prosecutors have obtained a recording of Former President Donald Trump

acknowledging he held on to a classified document about a potential attack on Iran after he left the White House according to multiple sources.

The recording is of a meeting at Trump's Bedminster Golf Course in July 2021. Among those in attendance were Trump aides and two people working on

an auto biography of Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Meadows was not in attendance but at this time Trump was having aids record conversations with writers and journalists, so he was aware he was being

taped. CNN has not listened to the recording but multiple sources have described it and say it indicates Trump understood he retained classified

material after leaving the White House, despite what he has said publicly.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: I have no classified documents. And by the way, they become automatically declassified when I took them. You're

the president of the United States. You can declassify just by saying it's declassified even by thinking about it.

REID (voice over): Sources say he can also be heard acknowledging the limits of his ability to declassify material after leaving office. The

remarks appeared to be in response to this New Yorker article published days before the meeting, claiming that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

General Mark Milley was concerned Trump might set in motion a full scale conflict that was not justified with Iran.

Trump appeared to be angered by this report and said he had in his possession a document that showed Milley's plan to attack. CNN is told that

the document was not produced by Milley. His spokesman declined to comment to CNN. It is also unclear if Trump actually showed the document during the

recording. Trump's former national security adviser says he absolutely should not have had that document.

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: I have very little faith in Donald Trump's credibility. He could have had a

rolled up carry out menu in his hand waving it around saying it was Iran draft war plan.

REID (voice over): The recording is a key piece of evidence for special counsel Jack Smith. His investigators have questioned witnesses about it,

including General Milley himself. Trump's Attorney, Jim Trusty was asked multiple times whether there was any evidence that Trump had declassified

this document. He would not answer.

JIM TRUSTY, COUNSEL FOR FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The president under the Presidential Records Act has unfettered authority to do what he

wants with documents that he's taken from the White House, while President, I am not going to sit here and dignify leaks that are incomplete, that are

unfair, and they're dishonest. This is a leak campaign.

REID (voice over): He also would not say how this document wound up in Bedminster.

TRUSTY: I'm not going to try the case. It's being set up by leaks that I don't believe are accurate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did, has the document been returned to the National Archives?

TRUSTY: Same answer.


GIOKOS: All right. Well, that was CNN's Paula Reid reporting. I want to bring in Katelyn Polantz from Washington. Katelyn, we've just heard from

Paula's report on just how contradictory some of Donald Trump's statements have been around these classified documents, and then finding this

recording is pretty phenomenal. And the question now becomes, you know, how does this impact the investigation? How does it impact the case?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, it's clearly something that the Justice Department is putting investigative effort

around, so we know that they have this audio recording in their hands. They have heard it, and they are asking witnesses about it. And not only are

they asking witnesses about this specific meeting in Bedminster, New Jersey in July of 2020, where Donald Trump is captured on tape talking about this

plan he got for a military strike on Iran.

Rustling a document around referring to the classified document and referring to the limitations he has on it where he can't spread it further.

But we know that they are also asking people about his anger toward General Milley himself. We know also that they the investigators have questioned

Mark Milley about this case about this sort of issue.

And so there is quite a bit of investigative activity that prosecutors are doing right now to understand this document, this meeting Donald Trump and

his feelings around Mark Milley and this document and everything that happened here.

We also know, we did see in our own reporting, our own team of reporters were able to nail down that one of the people in this meeting Marco Martin

of communication aide to Donald Trump. She was in that meeting July 2021. She witnessed this and she also spoke to the grand jury in March.

GIOKOS: All right, I mean what I'm curious about as well as just how Donald Trump has responded from what we have seen in this recording and the

reporting around it.

POLANTZ: Right, so we did get a statement on Donald Trump's behalf last night from a spokesperson accusing the Justice Department of leaking but I

will say that we have done dogged reporting to get to this point to be able to tell this story. Multiple sources spoke to us about this recording,

although we haven't heard the recording itself.

And then also one of Donald Trump's lawyers was on CNN last night accusing the Justice Department, the FBI of leaking. And essentially repeating this

idea that Trump has put out there that he was able to declassify anything that he was able to take documents that he believed were his after the



But the thing that they are talking about is whether or not this document was classified. They're arguing over that that ultimately may not matter,

because we know one of the laws of the Justice Department is investigating. From that search they did and the court record that we've gotten around

that whenever they searched Mar-a-Lago for classified documents last August.

We know that one of those laws; it is protecting not just classified material, but any national defense information. And so, a plan on a

military strike on Iran certainly seems like it could fall into that category, whether or not Donald Trump declassified. And whether or not he

was even allowed to have that information at that time after the presidency that really is much less material to what the Justice Department is looking

at, compared to the fact itself that on this recording, Trump is talking about and referring to this document this plan.

And also acknowledging that he shouldn't have it where he has it and that he shouldn't be showing it to people who shouldn't be exposed to national

security secrets.

GIOKOS: Yes. Katelyn Polantz, you and your team did great work on those. Thank you very much for this.

POLANTZ: Thank you.

GIOKOS: Well, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who arrived in Singapore after issuing an ominous warning earlier during his stop in

Tokyo, Austin said the ongoing lack of communication with China could result in "An incident that could very, very quickly spiral out of


CNN's Natasha Bertrand joins us now live from the Pentagon. That is a warning and very serious one; one would hope that the lines of

communications are starting to open. What are you hearing?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, that's right, Eleni, so, this warning by the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, it came of

course, days after a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft flying over the South China Sea was aggressively intercepted by a Chinese fighter aircraft in a

way that U.S. officials said was extremely dangerous and provocative.

And essentially, Austin's message here is that these kinds of incidents are going to keep happening because they have seen that the Pentagon has seen

an uptick in these kinds of aggressive maneuvers by Chinese aircraft. And if they do, and if something were to happen, for example, a collision, then

this kind of incident could spiral out of control if there is no ongoing military to military communication between the U.S. and China. Here is what

Austin told reporters from Japan.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: You've heard me talk a number of times about the importance of countries with large, with significant

capabilities, being able to talk to each other so you can manage crises and, and prevent things from spiraling out of control unnecessarily.


BERTRAND: So China has refused a number of requests by the Defense Department for a meeting between senior defense department leaders and

Chinese counterparts, including one as recently as this week when the Secretary of Defense actually requested to meet with his Chinese

counterpart, while they are both in Singapore for a security defense summit.

The Chinese have outright refused at those meetings. And we should note that one of the main reasons that they have continued to say that they do

not want to meet or give an audience to the U.S. is because the U.S. has continued to maintain sanctions on China that were imposed by the Trump

Administration in 2018.

The U.S. does not appear prepared to lift those sanctions at this point. And of course, tensions remain very high for a number of other reasons. So

right now, the two countries seem very far apart. China does not seem to be entertaining any requests for a meeting, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes, interesting. I want to talk about the wider story here and the tensions that have been brewing and bubbling under the surface, right,

whether it's that spy balloon, whether it's sort of issues on trade. It is worrying that we've heard this, this kind of warning from the defense


BERTRAND: It is because the Defense Department apparently since 2021, according to an official who spoke to us said that they have made over a

dozen requests to senior Chinese leaders for communication for meetings. And those requests have all been either ignored or rejected.

And the defense department is really getting so frustrated with this, that they have decided to just release videos of these incidents have decided to

make public the fact that the Chinese have rebuffed these requests, and they're basically resorting to all of this to try to pressure them into it,


GIOKOS: All right, Natasha Bertrand, great to have you on. Thank you so much. In Sudan, that's coming up, both sides appear to be making serious

violations of the ceasefire. It's dashing hopes of an end to this conflict. We'll show you right after this, stay with us.



GIOKOS: Welcome back to "Connect the World". I'm Eleni Giokos in Dubai. Your headline this hour, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the

European leader's summit in Moldova is urging NATO to make his country a member of the alliance. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is underlining

Kyiv's parts in NATO's future as he meets with foreign ministers in Oslo.

But the German Foreign Minister says EU members cannot be at war. Ukrainian officials are investigating why a bomb shelter in Kyiv was locked

overnight, while air raid sirens sounded. Three people including a nine year old girl were killed by the debris of Russian missiles shot down by


They were apparently unable to get into a closed shelter. Russia says that as evacuating more civilians from his Belgorod border region, some 300

children have already left the area. Apartments, homes and schools were damaged in shelling, which was blamed on Ukraine.

Now Russians are seeing more attacks inside their country and in occupied Ukraine. The latest incidents include a drone strike on Moscow which the

Kremlin blamed on Ukraine. I was denied by Kyiv, as CNN is Fred Pleitgen reports, there's mixed signals about the attacks from Ukraine's allies.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): While the Ukrainians continue to deny being directly involved in the drone

attack on Moscow, a senior adviser to Ukraine's presidency is warning the Russians the war is coming to them.

MYKHAILO PODOLYAK, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: All this will increase in scale; there will be an increase in the number of manifestations of the

war on the territory of the Russian Federation.

PLEITGEN (voice over): And Russia is not only feeling the heat around Moscow, the Ukrainians appear to be ramping up the pressure in the vast

border regions between the two countries. Local authorities in the Belgorod area say heavy shelling damaged residential and official buildings there

wounding several people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was very scary, several burst at once. This has not happened before.

PLEITGEN (voice over): Further south in the Krasnodar region, the Russians say two oil refineries were targeted by drones, the surveillance camera

video seeming to show an explosion followed by a large fire at one of the facilities.

And to the north, authorities in the Briansk area say they repelled a massive drone attack, while the Ukrainians believe the Russians are so

nervous. They blew up a road in the border region nearby to try and stop any possible Ukrainian advances. The U.S. says it doesn't condone attacks

on Russian territory.

KIRBY: We have maintained our concerns about attacks on Russian soil, but we have been nothing but generous and fully committed to making sure that

Ukraine can defend itself.

PLEITGEN (voice over): But some of the U.S.'s allies are less concerned.

JAMES CLEVERLY, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Ukraine does have the legitimate right to defend itself, but it does also have the rights to project force

beyond its borders to undermine Russia's ability to project force into Ukraine itself.


PLEITGEN (voice over): Those remarks caused major outrage on Kremlin controlled TV as Russia security forces seem unable to prevent cross border

raids. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kyiv.


GIOKOS: All right, I want to break into this happening right now. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is speaking to European leaders in Moldova at

the European political Community Summit. Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are a lot of opinions of experts about the fact that if Moldovan authorities ask the help of Ukraine with respect to a

conflict can be resolved by a military solution. From different points of use and circumstances, Moldova is not ready to resolve his problem yet.

My question is, is the Ukrainian weary? Or is it possible to work out the issue or curate peaceful way of taking out the Russian constitution from

Moldovan territory to the way of a Black Sea thank you, -- .

ZELENSKYY: I think we all do need a United Moldova society in United your country. And of course, we wish you all the best and to do it without

throws, without artillery, without bombs, without rockets and et cetera. It means without depth on your land. And of course, we'll do our best what we

can and will always support you.

Please trust me, I'm sure I'm sure really that that is, it's not fantastic. I'm sure it was, you know, it's like example that Bedros will never be in

Ukraine. Our Western partners will never unite will never give us more than Western kind of artillery. But we see the result. We did it, we united


I'm happy that we have united Europe. And not only Europe and that is why I not hope, I assure that after we will win. And I'm sure we will. You will

have united country without rockets and without Russia.


ZELENSKYY: Thank you, your glory to Ukraine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, we now have Mike in the audience. So I'll take one question from the audience that very -- .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks a lot. -- The German newspaper, -- . Mr. President, you've been speaking about your aspirations for NATO membership,

and you ask for a clear invitation at the upcoming summit and for security guarantees related to that. In case of a peace settlement, would you ever

be willing to accept security guarantees that do not lead you to NATO anything outside of NATO? Thank you.

ZELENSKYY: Thank you for the question. We could have a kind of a dialogue in here. We could have a discussion for a couple of hours, what's the

peaceful settlement? And with whom, who will not serve as the -- ? So NATO is absolutely clear, you know the infrastructure of security guarantees for


What is optimistic, that's the security guarantees. For example, even we are talking to countries, United States and some other partners. And I'm

talking about security guarantees -- we have kept security compact. And that's based on the guarantees that we need, because we have this war and

we are -- lives and clearly understand what we need.

So we have the security guarantees. And this is we need now because we're not in NATO. Otherwise Russia would not -- or if they would attack us, then

we would be protected by NATO. But still, I don't think they would attack because I don't think I can come up with any examples like whichever NATO

member nation was ever attacked by Russia.

So the best security guarantee is NATO. So let's imagine that someone, I mean, you're from Germany, right?


OK, let's imagine someone, someone, for example, would be thinking whether to give us the security guarantees or not, then we would need to understand

which ones if not NATO then what? What else can guarantee? Who else could guarantee?

We had by the post memorandum? And they were leaders, prominent leaders. And what happened well, we know what happened. We gave way the nuclear

weapons. We're like more and civilized people, we did this, the country did this, made a choice to give away its arsenal.

But well, Ukraine was supposed to receive the protection for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine that Ukraine has partially

lost its territories temporarily, but it still lost its territories. We lost these people who are defending our country, and not temporarily, but

forever. So are there any security guarantees except for NATO?

Well, we need to think what this could be. We would like to have the guarantees of NATO. And as long as we are not a member nation, to NATO, we

would like to have security guarantees. Now, it would be favorable, that would be a clear signal that the security guarantees would stay valid until

Ukraine drones, NATO. So that's the case. Maybe you wanted to have a different answer. But well, that's the answer I can give you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, this is -- Romanian.

ZELENSKYY: Where are you -- ?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here. I'm here. -- Romanian media outlet. So my question goes like this. U.N. President Yohannes signed an agreement today

about security matters, and issued a joint statement. So I want to ask you, how exactly should Romania support Ukraine for a faster NATO integration?

ZELENSKYY: First, Romania supports Ukraine, I'm very grateful. And it supports our soldiers on the battlefield. And I'm very grateful to

President Yohannes. And indeed, we have a wonderful and fruitful relations and cooperation, which is very important. And we have made this cooperation

even more profound when Yohannes together with the other leaders came to Kyiv with other partners.

And it was at a very important stage. And at that point, we were talking about the candidate status for the European Union. Now since that moment,

our cooperation has become much better not between me personally and the president, but which is also important, but in between of the nations and

in between of our estates, talking about security.

Now, that's signal that I'm talking about the security guarantees. Now, this is a signal about our future membership in NATO. It's more than, you

know, open door policy or something open. So President Yohannes supports the future of Ukraine in NATO. So that means that he will support us, and

he would vote for that to happen, and he will work with other partners to make it happen. So that's what it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's have -- the Ukrainian media outlet. Wait for the microphone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good afternoon, Mr. President. I just wanted to specify on the Transnistria conflict you have mentioned during this, during

the opening statement about Russian presence. So how Russian forces will be redeployed from this occupied territory and will Ukraine initiate the

reconsider the negotiation process five plus two as we are part to this negotiation process?

ZELENSKYY: Do you see any future and the five plus two negotiation forum? Do you see any result? Should we reconsider? Why should we talk about the

project which is no longer vivid?

I think that we need to talk from a position of a strong country, a victorious country who managed to restore its independence and territorial

integrity. At this moment we would need to talk so. Then we have a joint position together with Moldova in terms of the unity of Moldova. And we'll

be working that's also clear.


I don't know whether we will need the assistance and support of other partners. I believe in this situation, maybe Romania, maybe some of the

other partners. Maybe we would be talking together; maybe Moldova would like to engage any other country.

But Ukraine will definitely play one of the major roles because we do have a common border. As for what to do with those troops deployed there? Well,

they want to leave to keep their lives so they will go through the territory of Ukraine.


ZELENSKYY: Well, I'm not going to order them a taxi or a cab. There will be a way; a person who wants to live weld, this person would always find a

solution. Taking them as POW's well, that's the territory of Moldova, I keep forgetting that. Let's have another question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, thank you for visiting our country in such a difficult time for Ukraine. And we all know that Russia is --

terrible and dishonest war and hitting the electrical infrastructure which also affects Moldova. So is Ukraine ready for new possible Russian attacks

on the energetic and energetic infrastructure? And can the country and Moldova to be secure to have blackouts?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Daria Subotica (ph), a newsmaker, Moldovan Media.

ZELENSKYY: Daria, we have a daily attacks against our energy infrastructure against water supplies, gas supply network against infrastructure nodes,

transport nodes, ports, which is the most tragic attacks against ordinary people, children, kindergartens. How to leave without, well, we fight we'll

leave, if partners would support us even more than we would have even greater defense.

But I think the local authorities would need to, you know, to, to remain smart. You know, we had a tragedy today that and people were unable to

access the shelter, or the bomb shelter, but when will return to -- surely will solve this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we survived the blackout in the winter?

ZELENSKYY: Well, there is nothing perfect about this. I wouldn't wish Moldova to have something like that by the way, however difficult, despite

the difficulties of our winter, we tried to help when Maia, the President of Moldova, asked for our support with electricity.

We tried to do whatever we could, if for Russian barbarians would not be capturing our Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant would have a profit set and

we'll be able to help and we will be able to help at cheap prices, which I think is important for people to know.

Well, they are who they are, will surely not like Moldova alone will help. Well look out. You see we are the normal people we survived. Don't be


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- secured in this field?

ZELENSKYY: Today, I talked not only to the president, but to the prime minister of Moldova. And before that, I asked the Ukrainian Prime Minister

to have a meeting with the Prime Minister. We're talking about joint energy projects, which is very important. I will talk about the nuclear energy.

Our prime ministers tend to have a conversation about green renewable electricity. Well, everything is important. We have to discuss everything.

We can do some projects through our ideas already. The next is all about the willingness to take those -- .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: French LCA TV channel, somewhere there. OK there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, Mr. President, you've seen me running around to get the mic. This is how persistent I am to ask you questions.


As you've seen, the invasion of Ukraine has changed the diplomacy throughout the world. And a lot of countries have offered some sort of

peace plan to you, some in agreements to what you want, some in non- agreements to what you want, who and which ones are the countries you are ready to listen to, as you've seen today, President Erdogan from Turkey is

not here. Does that change something for you in terms of the peace process in terms of deals that could be ongoing in Ukraine in the coming month?

Thank you.

ZELENSKYY: I haven't heard in the very end.


ZELENSKYY: What kind of peace formula I am looking at?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, exactly and from which countries?

ZELENSKYY: Well, from non-countries, let me explain. Let me tell you how it works. I don't like the word victim or casualties. But there is an

aggressor in this war, and there is a victim, there is the person there is an entity or the party who starts the war. So whenever an aggressor came to

your territory, then the peaceful plan cannot be prepared by the aggressor.

So those who suffered do prepare that, so since we do have a war on our territory that could be only our peace plan. Now talking about the

dialogue, we do need to have a dialogue with those countries willing to be engaged in this process.

And I'm very interested in making sure that different countries would be complementing our platform with their own initiatives. I'm not saying that

this is the ultimate version, because it's all about diplomacy. If you're not talking with missiles like Russia, you're talking with words, and it's

absolutely normal.

When people from different continents are not standing aside, but willing to join the process in order to put an end to this war, they have to give

their initiative. I mean, they have the full right to do that. And we are grateful, if they will approach us not trying to impose something upon us

but suggesting us.

And this is a dialectic and there could be any country well, except for the aggressor state, any country that is offering us with something, not

Russia, through some country, because we are all adequate people, we all understand, you know, the originator of this or that initiative.

So if there is any ideas, it would be good that our peace formula summit would involve as many countries as possible from different parts of the

world. This is very important, because I am confident that the peace formula and the peace summit, I don't know how many meetings, how many

summits will there be.

But what I know for sure is that things might serve as the foundation for the security infrastructure for the whole world for the future, when you

engage the whole world. And you show that one country is isolated because of its aggression.

Now, this is what's going to happen to you that the rest will get united as part of different reasons, everyone will get united. And even not against

someone particular, but against the war, against aggression, against the authoritarian regime. And that is why I support this very format.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dear colleagues, unfortunately, we have time only to take two more questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- Republic of Moldova. Mr. Zelenskyy, several officials from Kyiv previously said that Ukraine can help Moldova to solve

Transnistria problem if it's requested by Chisinau. Has this this subject ever been discussed at the high level? And what exactly could Ukraine do?

Transnistria is still a region on the border with Ukraine where Russia has station 2000 troops. Thank you.

ZELENSKYY: Thank you. Ukraine can respond and can help Moldova only if there will be a request, only if there will be a request at the highest

level of military and political leadership, the official leadership of Moldova. And then Ukraine will definitely respond.


I thought, I thought you would feel that.

GIOKOS: All right. We're seeing President Zelenskyy there addressing the press as well as leaders in Moldova, the European political Summit. Just to

wrap up, some of what he said. He reiterated that it was Ukraine that helped unite countries in Europe as well as the West.

Interestingly, the question on NATO, he said that if Ukraine was part of NATO, that Russia would not have attacked, and the best guarantee for

Ukraine is for the country to be part of NATO. Reiterating that Russia is attacking critical infrastructure on a daily basis, he referred to the

tragedy that occurred today with that locked bomb shelter that caused the death of three people as well.

And he says the only peace plan that is viable is Ukraine's peace plan or not the aggressors. That is President Zelenskyy there in Moldova. Thank you

so much for joining us. I'm Eleni Giokos. "One World" with Zain Asher is up next.